Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This post *might* change your life

Hi everyone!  One of my favorite foods has always been macaroni & cheese, what's not to love?  Pasta, cheese, bread crumbs... need I say more?  However, I have to say that most macaroni and cheese recipes rank high in calories and even more so in frustration.  First, try to make a healthier version of macaroni and cheese and then throw in trying to make a gluten-free version and you'll quickly find grainy sauces and soggy brown rice noodles. Gross.  

I quickly knew that my habit of turning to Chef Amy (Amy's Organic Gluten Free Rice Mac and Cheese...swoon!) was wearing my wallet thin.  I could do better... so the quest for the perfect macaroni and cheese began. It all began with a recipe I found from Weekly Bite.  It needed some tweaking to become gluten-free... so I tested it out with brown rice noodles, full-fat cheese (umm pretend you don't know I'm an RD) and obviously no bread crumbs.  Unfortunately, it didn't survive reheating.. the noodles turned into mush.  Mac and cheese fail.  I was convinced I was destined to macaroni and cheese from Chef Amy with a handful of frozen edamame tossed in.

And then I discovered this.... and everything was changed...

Seriously, this pasta is incredible.  Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa!) is a nutritional powerhouse full of fiber, protein, folate, thiamin, riboflavin and iron.  Now, this quinoa pasta also contains corn flour so don't freak when your pasta water turns yellow. Trust me.  Soon enough, you'll be eating the most divine macaroni and cheese ever.  Also...your box will say contains 4 servings and it will make 4 big servings!  Usually, I'll eat 2 servings of brown rice pasta (1/2 cup uncooked), nope not with this - it must quadruple it's size in the water :)  Win.  Enough already, let's get to the recipe!

Best Ever Mac and Cheese - Adapted from Weekly Bite


10 ounces of Quinoa Pasta 
2 slices of Udi’s Whole Wheat Gluten-Free Bread
2 cups 2% sharp cheddar, shredded
1 cup shredded parmesan
2 cups skim milk
1.5 cups shelled frozen edamame (leave out if you aren't a fan!)
3 tbsp Smart Balance Omega-3 Butter Stick
¼ cup brown rice flour
½ tablespoon dry mustard powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
A few shakes of the salt shaker!

1. Bring your water to a boil and throw in your pasta.  You don’t want the pasta to be completely cooked – about 7 minutes or so.  Begin pre-heating your oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Crumble your bread into pieces, toss into your food processor with ½ cup of the parmesan cheese.
3.  The trickiest part, making the roux.  If you’ve never made a roux, this step can be scary – don’t despair!  Melt your Smart Balance in a saucepan over medium low heat, then sprinkle the brown rice flour on top.  I like to fold the brown rice flour with a spatula – but you could also use a whisk.  Allow the mixture to cook for 1-2 minutes.
3.  Pour your skim milk into your flour/smart balance mixture.  Continue to stir, occasionally scraping the bottom with your spatula.  Turn your heat up to medium,  your mixture should begin to thicken and your mixture should begin to start to bubble.  Remember, no one likes burnt milk, so keep scraping the bottom of your pan with the spatula while you stir :) 
4.  Turn the heat down to low, add the mustard powder, black pepper and salt.  Toss in your cheddar and remaining parmesan and stir until melted.
5. Drain your pasta - add the cheese sauce & edamame – pour into a ceramic baking dish such as Corningware or Le Creuset.  You can use Pyrex - I used to - but be careful cause that bad boy can explode.  Sprinkle the bread parmesan mix on top.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown.
7. Feast!  This recipe will make 6 servings :)

PS: Don't forget to wipe your cheese sauce from the sides of your pan or else you'll end up with these lovely burnt edges.

Enjoy my friends, see you again soon :)

What is your favorite pasta dish?  Have you ever tried gluten-free pasta?

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